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Report: Institutional construction spending at $4.6B, highest since 2009

Schools and hospitals led a $4.6 billion construction spending spree in New York City last year.

According to a new report from the New York Building Congress building, the city’s public and private institutions started work on $4.6 billion worth of projects in 2015, the highest yearly total since at least 2009.

The figure represents a 22 percent increase from the previous year’s total of $3.8 billion. It also nearly doubled the totals from 2013 ($2.6 billion) and 2012 ($2.4 billion).

Photo by Stephen Rush/ Flickr
Photo by Stephen Rush/ Flickr

“New York City’s public and private institutions continue to be a constant and stable generator of construction spending and jobs,” said Building Congress President Richard T. Anderson.

“These investments are more important than ever given New York City’s need to accommodate the residents, visitors, students, and workers who are flocking to the City in record numbers.”

The 2015 total was the apex of an upward trajectory. Over an eight-year period between July 2008 and June 2016, construction projects by institutions across the city reached a value of $26.1 billion.

Over that period, construction work on public elementary and secondary schools accounted for $9.6 billion in value. This amounts to 37 percent of all institutional construction starts.

Colleges and universities posted $4.1 billion in construction starts over the period. That figure was 16 percent of the city’s total.

Meanwhile, construction projects for hospitals and healthcare facilities reached a value of $8 billion. This represents 31 percent of all institutional construction starts over the past eight years.

The two sectors were also responsible for the biggest construction deals across the city during the first half of the year. The education sector accounted for seven of the ten biggest projects. The New York City School Construction Authority was responsible for three projects in the top rankings. These include the expansion of Curtis High School in Staten Island, the renovation of Intermediate School 125 in Woodside, Queens and the construction of a new school in Oakland Garden, Queens.

“To address current overcrowding and accommodate anticipated enrollment growth, the New York City School Construction Authority has undertaken a five-year, $14.9 billion capital program that, judging from the top projects list, is starting to pay dividends,” Anderson said.

“It is interesting to note that so many of the larger institutional projects undertaken in early 2016 are happening in the outer boroughs, when you consider that 16 of the top 20 institutional construction starts over the last eight year emanated from the island of Manhattan,” added Anderson.

“This is a potential trend that is worth keeping an eye on, especially in light of all the new residential and commercial development we are seeing throughout Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island.”

Meanwhile, the healthcare sector was responsible for three of the ten biggest projects by value during the first half of the year.

This includes the city’s largest medical development project – the South Beach Psychiatric Center inpatient facility on Staten Island. The project’s $180 million construction value also makes it the 16th largest institutional start in the past eight years.

While the city’s pace of construction has shown steady, incremental growth, there are signs that it may finally be submitting to the forces of gravity.

During the first half of 2016, insitutional construction starts in the city slowed down to $1.4 billion, less than one-half of the $3 billion from the same period last year.

The decline is not unprecedented. It mirrors half-year totals from previous years such as the $1.2 billion from 2013 and $1.2 billion from 2012.

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